An Experiment in Creed Poetry

This is something new – or, more accurately, something I haven’t done in a while. I’ve written poetry; I’ve even taken college classes on it, but it’s been years since I really enjoyed and embraced that kind of deliberate play with language.

So, after watching Zoraida Cordova’s keynote talk for the Willamette Writer’s Conference, I decided to take on her prompt of writing a creed poem of my own (and possibly to rewrite one each year the way she does – I really like that idea actually!). It’s a deceptively simple poem format – you just start each line with “I believe” – but it ends up being a hell of a punch to the gut if you are honest with yourself as you write it.

Considering anxiety and depression like to make me lie to myself, making sure I’m honest with me is … well, it’s a little terrifying, but it seems important to at least try, you know?

So with no further ado (and please be gentle with me LOL), here is my Creed:

Creed

I believe my Tarot decks have no patience for stupid questions or self-sabotage, but I keep asking those questions I know the answers to, anyway.

I believe in gardens and growing things, though I’m learning sometimes life fails to flower or fruit or even to continue.

I believe words on the page have power, even when I just intend to merely play with them, even when no one else may ever see them, even if I hate the way they come out on paper.

I believe letting other people see those words is terrifying, but I crave their opinions just the same.

I believe my anxiety and depression are lying bitches who don’t deserve their space in my head (even if I can’t help believing the lies they tell), and I am working to reclaim my brain and my truths for myself. I believe that will take longer than I might like.

I believe in saying “y’all” and “folks,” and that inclusive language can still be “country” despite what the bigots try to claim belongs to only them.

I believe my husband existing doesn’t invalidate my bisexuality, and I will support and defend my other queer darlings against the bigots and our own community’s gatekeepers alike.

(I believe that unfortunately those two are often the same people, and being the latter does not excuse being the former.)

I believe in the word “queer” for those of us whose identities are complicated, and who want a single word for our whole community, and I don’t believe people can take that word away from us.

I believe no one should have to explain their reasoning for calling themselves queer.

I believe in fairy tales, but don’t believe the story ends at “happily ever after.” Because relationships take work, and love might be the answer, but you can’t live on it alone.

I believe “the end” are two of my favorite words to write, though I manage to write them only rarely.

I believe in challenging myself, but I know I’m likely to procrastinate about that challenge for at least a while.

I believe that cats and dogs are both the best, so there.

I believe “family” doesn’t grant you automatic forgiveness.

I believe it’s my right to believe I deserve better.

I believe Dr. Pepper is my favorite writing fuel, with or without alcoholic additions.

I believe it’s harder to pin down what I believe than I expected.

I believe I forgot how to believe for a while, but I’m learning how to try to believe once more.

All content © 2015 by C.L. McCollum unless otherwise noted.

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